Casino blackjack


Smartgambler is pleased to have one of Australia's most famous (and frequently barred) blackjack experts, Andrew Scott of BJ Masters, in our team.

Andrew writes articles for us on beating the casinos at blackjack and answers readers questions in our Andrew Scott Blackjack Pages

Click here for some interesting blackjack brain teasers.

Blackjack overview

Blackjack has long been the skilled casino players game of choice. The small number of decisions required, hitting, standing, doubling and splitting (insurance can be gainfully ignored) nevertheless produce a game of deceptive complexity. Hoping to make the right call on gut instinct, as most players do, is nothing less than wishful thinking. Note that Blackjack should not be confused with the horrible game of casino Twenty One which punters should refuse to have anything to do with as the percentages for the player are so disgracefully bad.

Card counting

Highly trained and knowledgeable Blackjack players called card counters are able to get an advantage over the casino by keeping a rough tally of how many high versus low cards are left in the shoe and varying their staking and decisions accordingly. Smartgambler recommends learning to card count for anyone serious about casino gambling who has the persistence, discipline and mental ability required. If you do this properly you will play at break even or better against the casinos and with disciplined staking it can be (and is) done professionally.

Card counting is not cheating, whatever light the casinos might wish to portray it in. If detected though, the casinos will take measures to prevent you profiting by your skill, such as shuffling the shoe much earlier than usual or restricting you to minimum bets. Thus, 'cover' is an essential part of card counting and some of the percentage edge the counter enjoys must be foregone in the interests of concealment. There is a very interesting piece on the experience of the card counter who runs the Whiteknight blackjack school in our Articles section.

There are also many good books available about card counting and a search on the web will yield results. You can find a lot more information about online blackjack too these days, and reputedly there are beatable games on the internet if you know where to look. Remember if buying a book that Blackjack rules and variables relevant to counting vary from country to country and casino to casino, so make sure the book you get is relevant to the casino where you will be playing. Our in house expert, Andrew Scott, conducts training schools in every aspect of Blackjack including counting and basic strategy. Andrew Scott Blackjack Pages

Basic Strategy

If you do not wish to go to the lengths of becoming a card counter (and card counting profitably is not easy) you really must as a bare minimum learn what is called basic strategy. This can be learned easily in a day or two; in an hour or two if you have a sharp mind. Basic strategy will work for online blackjack as well.

It simply involves memorising the 'correct' decision for every hand you can hold against every possible hand the dealer could hold. This is made much easier by certain rules that always apply and by repetitive patterns that act as mnemonics. Once you have mastered the strategy table for your casino provided here you are ready to enjoy one of the best value and least boring casino games available. Remember though, the casino still has the edge, and you can still lose your shirt by undisciplined staking.

A story of card counting

Broadcast 19-07-2003 on Australia's Radio National

How to Beat the Odds

Summary: When six students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology decided to take on the Las Vegas casinos and win at Blackjack, they cleaned up to the tune of around $US6 million...but it couldn't last. Ben Mezrich tells this true story in Bringing Down the House, and it reads like a thriller.

Click here for the ABC transcript



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